As a tiny, wide-eyed, unbearably cute child, I stared up at the candy-colored cars swinging high above me over the Summerfest grounds. The idea of riding one seemed too good to be true for a little man at his first Milwaukee festival.
“Watch out, this guy looks like he’s on drugs,” my dad said, as the Skyglider attendant strapped us into the seat with a dead-eyed grunt, knocking me across the face with the safety bar.
But that indignity still couldn’t spoil the thrill of rising over the city and getting a birds-eye view of the lake in the sun, the roaming crowds, that weird dude in the glider in front of us who wouldn’t stop staring at me. The sight was miraculous to my young eyes.
Even years later, as a cynical, squinty-faced, unbearably pretentious teenager, I never lost that childish joy, even if I had to pretend the Skyglider wasn’t that cool to maintain my street cred.
During this summer of cancelled festivals, that’s the one thing I’ll really miss – the chance to be a kid again.